The Definition: The Black Money Scam is one of the truly unique hustles. Our gang is selling “canceled” £10 notes – overprints that the English mint is sending to be burned, but which must first be “canceled” by painting it with an indelible black ink. This ink, of course, cannot be removed – or can it?
The Mark: This sting is effective across a wide swath of the population, particularly with young people in debt. It is the promise of easy money – the prospect of turning £30 into £100, over and over again – that lures otherwise sensible individuals into falling for a scam which is, of course, too good to be true. They try to remove the black ink, and wind up swimming in red ink.
The Scam: We find our gang set up in a tent at a U.K. Car Boot Sale, a popular location for scam artists, dipsters and hustlers. The gang has carefully prepared a supply of £10 “notes”, inked completely black so that no printing may be seen beneath the ebony covering. Of course, these are merely blank pieces of paper, carefully cut to be the exact size of a genuine note. And when they are artfully pitched as a windfall to our greedy marks, they will fetch many a real ten pound note in return.
The crowd gathers before a table manned by our scammer, upon which are stacks of black notes bundled together in lots of ten. Also on the table are an inexpensive, plain, printer’s ink roller and some ordinary, lemon-smelling, cleaning liquid. The hustle begins in the form of an explanation to the rapt audience. “When the English mint,” begins our hustler, “prints too many notes, they must send the excess off to be burned…” So begins this improbable tale. He explains how he and his compatriots have “accidentally” come upon a van full of these notes, and further, they have developed a “solution” that will quickly and easily remove the ink from the perfectly genuine – not counterfeit, merely “canceled” – £10 note.